Former Prison Break star Wentworth Miller has opened up about his struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts and an eating disorder after an internet meme making fun of his weight-gain was circulated widely on social media.
Popular Facebook site The Lad Bible ran the meme which compared a photo of the actor in which he is shirtless and lean, with a later image where he appears to have gained weight, beneath a caption alluding to his eating habits.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday, Miller said the second photo was taken in 2010 at “the lowest point in [his] adult life”, when he was suicidal and had turned to eating as a distraction from the depression he suffered since childhood.
“The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe,” Miller wrote.
“One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show.
“Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. ‘Hunk To Chunk’. ‘Fit To Flab’. Etc.”
He said that at the time the photo was taken he “suffered in silence”, but has since been vocal about his struggles after coming out as gay in 2013.
‘You only cry for help if there is help to cry for’
At a human rights campaign dinner in 2013 he admitted first attempting suicide at the age of 15, but said it was not a cry for help.
“You only cry for help if there is help to cry for,” he said.
A number of people took to The Lad Bible page to complain and the meme has been taken down.
Miller is one of many to have spoken out after finding themselves or loved ones the unwanted target of internet memes.
Earlier this year, a Texas mother was fighting to have a meme comparing a picture of her son to a dog, removed from the internet.
The young boy suffers a rare congenital defect called pfeiffer syndrome, in which certain bones in the skull fuse prematurely, affecting the shape of the head.
In another case, a cancer survivor had a picture of himself during chemotherapy compared with the appearance of a long-time methamphetamine addict.
Miller said that he chose to use this latest picture of himself as a positive reminder of his strength.
“Now, when I see that image of me in my red T-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without,” he wrote.
This article first appeared on ‘ABC‘ on 29 March 2016.